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During times of high traffic when your connection speeds drop significantly, is where data deprioritization comes into play.

So, what is data deprioritization? In simple terms, it's a process that cell phone carriers use to manage network traffic during times of high usage so everyone can stay connected without interruption.

If you're constantly checking your emails, scrolling through social media feeds, or binging on the latest series on Netflix, you're not alone. In the US most people rely on their cell phones for entertainment and communication.

In this guide, we'll explain the difference between deprioritization and throttling and how to find the best deals.

Do I need to worry about deprioritization?

Slower data speeds may seem like a minor annoyance, but they can have a major impact on your mobile internet experience.

If you rely on fast data speeds for work, streaming videos, or playing online games you might find that your service is slower than usual when deprioritization is in effect.

The good news is that there are steps you can take to minimize the impact of a data threshold.

Is data deprioritization different from data throttling?

It's important to be aware that deprioritization and data throttling are not the same things.

Deprioritizing can cause a temporary slowdown in your connection when networks get busy, whereas with throttling it may feel like you're crawling through molasses! Plus throttling is when you go over your data allowance for the month. And yes, this can include an unlimited data plan.

Make sure you know which of these services is part of your cell phone plan so there aren't any unwelcome surprises down the line.

Data deprioritization

At its core, data deprioritization is a network management tool that cell phone carriers use to ensure that their networks remain stable during busy periods.

Essentially, it allows carriers to slow down the speeds of some users so that the network can continue to function properly.

What is throttling data?

When your data is throttled, it's slowed to a speed that is pretty much unusable.

Cell phone carriers throttle data speeds when you exceed your data limit, unlike deprioritization which manages network congestion during times of high usage.

This can still happen on unlimited data plans, as rarely does unlimited mean unlimited. And often there's a certain data threshold that once reached will slow your data speeds.

How can you manage data deprioritization?

While data deprioritization can be frustrating one way to minimize the impact of deprioritization is to use Wi-Fi whenever it's available.

This can help you avoid using your mobile internet during periods of high network congestion, which can trigger deprioritization. Be sure to connect to secure, password-protected networks to protect your personal information and keep your connection secure.


Network congestion during extremely busy times can be frustrating. Data deprioritization means that some users may experience slower speeds as carriers temporarily prioritize certain customers over others - something you want to avoid while browsing the web.

Connecting to Wi-Fi networks whenever possible is key in avoiding data deprioritization and keeping your mobile network running smoothly, so don't forget about it when logging on at home or out and about.

And remember - this isn't throttling; if your carrier slows down your connection speed significantly then they are probably doing so until the next billing cycle (at which point everything should return back to normal).

Data usage FAQs

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